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"Slip" into Someplace Comfortable
|Just north of downtown and the hotel zone, is the Marina, the gateway to the sea, and in the middle of just about everything on the bay.
You don't have to stay at the Casa Velas, Marriott Casa Magna, or the Melia to enjoy the Marina area. Most people unfamiliar with the area tend to be under the impression that in the Marina, you will only find exclusive hotels, boats, boats and more boats.
On the contrary, the Marina is an attractive area with plenty to see and do, and probably one of the most peaceful areas of Vallarta. There is nothing better than meandering along the Marina boardwalk and watching the tropical fish swim along the shore in the reflections of the white yachts against the calm waters.
During your stroll, stop for a slice of blackberry or Kahlua cream cheese cake from Los Chatos. They have a bounty of fantastic cakes, cookies, and ice cream.
Another great place is Brando's Bar. The beer is cold and the food is prepared outside on the wood burning grill. Take a seat at one of their palapas, complete with sand, and you will feel like you are on the beach.
The Marina area is a great place to spend the day. You can start off with breakfast at Mr. Cream, one of the best known breakfast haunts in the area. Wake up to a Belgian waffle or a stack of pancakes, eggs the way you like 'em, and an energizing cup of coffee. Or, dive into Marisma Fish Taco and order a couple fish or shrimp tacos, which, believe it or not are absolutely delicious any time of the day!
To help work off your morning meal, dozens of great shops are scattered among the cafes and fine restaurants, ice cream parlors and art galleries. If you want a more intensive shopping workout, Plaza Neptuno, the entrance of the Marina area is filled with one-of-a kind shops and galleries, including Andrea's Silver and Art. You will also find several stores with incredible home furnishings and decor, including Nomada.
Golfers will enjoy the Marina because they have the championship course, Marina Vallarta Golf Club, smack in the middle of it all, with ocean views, lush tropical foliage, wildlife and manicured grounds and greens. Oh, and a resident crocodile who makes one of the water hazards truly hazardous. Groups and avid golfers will enjoy the excellent rates we have for multiple rounds.
Joggers, walkers, and inline-skaters will find that the Marina is a great place for getting some traditional exercise. The roads are well maintained, and with only one way in and one way out of the Marina, (turn in at Plaza Neptuno) you won't be dodging traffic. If you stay at any one of the hotels in the Marina, you can easily walk to most of the fine restaurants, shops and bars, plus the boardwalk around the boat slips is perfect for an after dinner stroll.
For romantic dinners, Las Palomas, La Terrazza di Roma, or Suzy Wong's are great choices. The best place to catch the sunset is El Faro, the lighthouse bar. Off the boardwalk, you will find a host of other inexpensive restaurants serving deli sandwiches, pizza and traditional Mexican favorites, but, a little known restaurant in the Opequimar Marina (right across from the Westin Regina) is by far the best bet for fantastic food at unbelievably low prices. At the Desperado Yacht Club and Bar-B-Que, a wonderful plate of smoked baby-back ribs, French fries, cole slaw and garlic bread is only 35 pesos. One other fine point, they have absolutely THE coldest beer this side of the North Pole!
If you are looking for more than an ordinary day at the beach, saunter over to Nikki Beach. This world renowned sensation made its debut in Marina Vallarta in the Spring of 2004. Soak up the rays from your cabana and enjoy the day. At night Nikki Beach morphs into an upscale restaurant and beach club disco.
Even if you are not staying in the Marina, it is definitely a area to check out. In high season, there is an Art Walk and Cocktail Party once a week as well as golf, fishing and sailing events throughout the year. Be sure to check out our events section before you arrive to see what's happening in the Marina and around Vallarta.